Boquerones en Vinagre (Anchovies in Vinegar): A Spanish Delicacy

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Boquerones en vinagre, or anchovies in vinegar, is a classic Spanish dish that showcases the delicate flavors of fresh anchovies marinated in vinegar and seasoned with garlic, parsley, and olive oil. This dish is beloved for its simplicity, freshness, and the ability to preserve the natural flavors of the anchovies while imparting a tangy and aromatic marinade. Boquerones en vinagre is typically enjoyed as a tapa (appetizer) alongside crusty bread and a glass of wine, making it a perfect addition to any Spanish culinary experience. This article explores the origins of boquerones en vinagre, its cultural significance, and provides a step-by-step recipe for you to prepare this traditional Spanish delicacy at home.

History and Cultural Significance

Anchovies have been a staple in Mediterranean cuisine for centuries, prized for their rich flavor and versatility in various culinary preparations. Boquerones en vinagre is a traditional Spanish dish that dates back to ancient times when preserving fish in vinegar was a common method to prolong their shelf life and enhance their taste. In Spain, especially in coastal regions like Andalusia and Catalonia, boquerones en vinagre remains a popular tapa enjoyed in bars, restaurants, and homes alike. This dish reflects Spain’s culinary tradition of using simple yet high-quality ingredients to create dishes that are both flavorful and satisfying.

Ingredients for Boquerones en Vinagre

To prepare boquerones en vinagre, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound of fresh anchovy fillets: Cleaned and deboned.
  • 1 cup of white wine vinegar: For the marinade.
  • 1 cup of water: To dilute the vinegar.
  • 2 cloves of garlic: Thinly sliced.
  • 1 teaspoon of salt: For seasoning.
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil: To drizzle over the marinated anchovies.
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley: Chopped, for garnish.
  • Optional: Red pepper flakes: For a hint of spice (if desired).

Recipe for Boquerones en Vinagre

Preparing the Anchovies:

  1. Cleaning and Deboning the Anchovies:
    • Rinse the fresh anchovy fillets under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.
    • Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the heads and bones from each anchovy fillet. Gently flatten the fillets with your fingers to ensure they lay flat.

Marinating the Anchovies:

  1. Making the Vinegar Solution:
    • In a medium bowl, combine the white wine vinegar, water, sliced garlic, and salt. Stir until the salt is dissolved.
  2. Marinating the Anchovies:
    • Place the cleaned anchovy fillets in a shallow dish or glass container.
    • Pour the vinegar mixture over the anchovies, ensuring they are completely submerged.
    • Cover the dish or container with plastic wrap or a lid, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. This allows the anchovies to marinate and absorb the flavors.

Serving Boquerones en Vinagre:

  1. Drizzling with Olive Oil:
    • Remove the marinated anchovies from the refrigerator.
    • Drain the anchovies and transfer them to a serving platter or individual plates.
  2. Garnishing and Serving:
    • Drizzle the marinated anchovies with extra virgin olive oil.
    • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and optional red pepper flakes for added flavor and color.
  3. Serving Suggestions:
    • Serve boquerones en vinagre chilled or at room temperature, accompanied by crusty bread, olives, and a glass of crisp white wine.
    • Enjoy as a traditional Spanish tapa or as part of a larger spread of appetizers.

Nutritional Benefits

Boquerones en vinagre offers several health benefits, as anchovies are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health and brain function. Additionally, anchovies are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to a balanced diet.


Boquerones en vinagre, or anchovies in vinegar, is a quintessential Spanish dish that captures the essence of Mediterranean cuisine with its fresh flavors and simple preparation. Whether enjoyed as a tapa or a light appetizer, this dish invites you to savor the tangy marinade and delicate texture of marinated anchovies. With its rich history and cultural significance in Spanish gastronomy, boquerones en vinagre continues to captivate seafood enthusiasts around the world. So, gather your ingredients, prepare your marinade, and indulge in the exquisite flavors of this traditional Spanish delicacy in the comfort of your own home.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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